Several institutions based in London, including the Aga Khan University, The Institute of Ismaili Studies and the Aga Khan Foundation (UK), will move to a new purpose built building at King’s Cross in the summer of 2018.
This new building is part of a wider collection of AKDN projects at King’s Cross which includes a student accommodation facility completed in 2016 and contributions to two key spaces within the public realm of the King’s Cross Central development.
The student housing building – designed by London-based award-winning architects Stanton Williams – has 198 student rooms and a number of communal spaces for student life. Students attending The Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS) and the Aga Khan University’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC) occupy just over half of the rooms; the balance is rented out to third parties.
The academic and office building – designed by the renowned Japanese architect, Pritzker Prize laureate Fumihiko Maki – is primarily for an academic community, with spaces for students, scholars and staff to share ideas and work together alongside flexible spaces for teaching, quiet research, a library and for secure archival storage for rare books and manuscripts.
For the Aga Khan Foundation, the building will also act as a learning centre for programme enhancement, policy dialogue, education, and the dissemination of best practices in international development.
A key feature of both buildings is a series of gardens that reflect – through contemporary landscape design – approaches to landscape architecture from different regions of the Muslim world. The ten gardens across the two new buildings and the public realm form a green ribbon which seeks to reflect the great diversity of cultures across the world of Islam.